Friends welcome Cupit home after cancer fight

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2011

After fighting bone cancer for nearly a year, saying hello tofamily and old friends has probably never been sweeter for MaggieCupit.

Cupit sat like a queen on her throne inside the First UnitedMethodist Church Ministry Center as community members stood in alengthy line waiting for their chance to give Cupit a long overduehug at her welcome home celebration Sunday.

“One of the most unique talented people I have ever known whohas a heart for all people,” said family friend Becky Green whendescribing Cupit. “I don’t know of anybody that doesn’t knowMaggie.”

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Cupit said it was really good to have the opportunity to visitwith people she has not seen in quite sometime and how much sheappreciated the community’s support.

Although Cupit was living hours away in the Target House, ahousing development for those undergoing treatment at St. JudeChildren’s Research Hospital, the community was behind her everystep of the way. People held fundraisers, threw parades and did notlet anyone forget about one of Brookhaven’s brightest stars.

“The support system is what really helps get you through it,”said Cupit.

The community support also extended to Cupit’s mom, ElliePhillips, who left Brookhaven as well to be by her child duringperhaps the toughest time of her life.

Phillips, a teacher at Mamie Martin, said fellow teachers insidethe Brookhaven School District gave up paid leave to donate toPhillips. Phillips said she did not miss a paycheck and was evenable to keep her insurance.

“It was amazing,” Phillips said of the teachers’ generosity.

Phillips was also thankful to the community for all the supportthey showed her throughout the year, as she said one of the hardestparts of the grueling experience was being unable to help herchild.

“She would be in (chemotherapy) for five nights and it would becontinuous,” said Phillips. “Just sick and crying, just tearsrunning down her face and I couldn’t do anything but justwatch.”

Though Cupit is home, she will still need support from thecommunity because her road to recovery is not complete justyet.

Cupit will undergo several scans during the next 10 years toensure her cancer is gone and she will also be undergoing physicaltherapy to rehabilitate her knee, which was operated on to removethe cancer and operated on again to remove an infection.

In addition to getting her health back, she will also be workingtoward driving, going back to school at Rhoads College in Memphisin the fall and being able to swim.

However, “normal” is something Cupit may never be again.

“When you go through something really traumatic it reallychanges you,” said Cupit. “Hopefully, in the long run, the things Ilearned will be beneficial.”

Cupit said something she learned from the whole experience wasthe importance of family and friends. As they approached her one byone, Cupit greeted them with nothing but smiles, proudly displayingher battle wounds like a brave warrior.

“I like to show my scar because I’ve been through a lot and Iwant people to know it,” said Cupit. “I think it helps peopleunderstand a little better.”